Higham Ferrers surgery's staff problems a factor as health watchdog rates it as 'inadequate'

Higham Ferrers Surgery (Picture: Google)
Higham Ferrers Surgery (Picture: Google)

Health watchdog inspectors have rated a Higham Ferrers GP surgery as 'inadequate', highlighting staffing issues that led to poor services and morale.

Higham Ferrers Surgery in Saffron Road was given a rating according to whether it is safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

Though found to be 'good' in terms of being effective, it was deemed 'inadequate' in the responsive and well-led categories, and 'requires improvement' in the safe and caring criteria.

Well-led services were deemed 'inadequate' because, despite some improvements since a previous inspection in April 2018, the surgery had not addressed the staffing issues, which meant it struggled to match patient needs.

"During this inspection, we identified additional concerns that put patients at risk such as poor staff morale attributed to staff shortages and increased workload," states the report from the December 2018 inspection.

"Leaders could not show that they understood the challenges to quality and sustainability."

Also highlighted by the CQC was the fact there is no system to summarise patient medical records so they contained an accurate, up-to-date and easily accessible summary to enable clinical staff to readily access a patient’s significant and relevant medical history and make use of this, if appropriate, during a consultation.

A spokeswoman for Higham Ferrers Surgery said: "We acknowledge the findings of the CQC report, and are working with NHS England and NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure that the required improvements are made.

"We would like to reassure patients that we are already progressing a number of these improvements, including the recruitment of additional clinical staff to enable us to offer more appointments for patients, ensuring that patients' notes are summarised in a timely way, re-establishment of Patient Participation Group to act as the 'voice' of our patients.

"These reviews will enable the practice to offer an inclusive seamless service to our patients."

Inspectors rated the practice as 'inadequate' for providing responsive services overall because "patients were not able to access care and treatment in a timely way" and "some patient satisfaction data was significantly below local and national averages".

Janet Williamson, deputy chief inspector of general practice and dentistry in CQC’s central region, said: “It is important that the people who are registered with these practices can rely on getting the high-quality care which everyone is entitled to receive from their GP.

“Inspectors found these services were failing to provide the level of care people should be able to expect.

“We found a number of concerns at these services and as a result of our findings they have been rated Inadequate and placed into special measures.

“We will continue to monitor these practices and we will inspect again in six months to check whether improvements have been made. I am hopeful that the practices will do what is required for the sake of their patients, but if we find that any of these services remain Inadequate, we will consider taking further action.”